As the Diversity Advantage initiative enters its second decade, we're drawing up a new plan to guide progress toward the creation of a welcoming and belonging environment where everyone feels valued and can contribute their diverse perspectives and talents.
In the years since the original plan was adopted in 2014, Bellevue’s demographics and needs have changed. We received many ideas from the community, and this update will give more opportunities for feedback. The city wants to increase its collaboration with the community.
Diversity Advantage 2.0 will include new recommended actions and strategies that accurately reflect the community and its future needs, supporting the initiative's evolution to be more community-led and city-supported.
The new plan will provide tools, strategies and resources to help staff integrate equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging into their work. We will update the original plan to include sections about:
- Where we are now
- Where we need to go
- How we’re going to get there
The plan envisions a future where the community and the city work hand-in-hand to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, leading to an improved quality of life for all residents. Principles of equity will be integrated into every aspect of Bellevue life. Goals include:
- Strengthened bonds with communities: Cultivate deeper partnerships with communities. This approach envisions a community-led model bolstered by robust city support. In this model, communities take the lead in driving equity initiatives, while the city provides vital resources, guidance and sustenance for these endeavors.
- Integration of equity principles: Integrate equity principles into every aspect of city plans, policies, procedures and practices.
- Development of new community goals and strategies: Create new community goals and strategies that reflect the values of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. We aim to guide the city's actions and initiatives, ensuring they align with the broader vision for equity.
- Enhanced quality of life for residents: Improve the quality of life for all residents, focusing on access to transportation, healthcare, safety and other essential services. With such access, every resident and visitor, regardless of background or circumstances, enjoys a higher quality of life within the city.
We will first convene a group of city staff leaders to improve the city’s capacity to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. Then we will convene community leaders to gather input in addition to that collected from the Centering Communities of Color dialogues and Cross-Cultural Center workshops. Lastly, city staff will draft the plan and share the draft with the community for input.
Project Planning: The Diversity Advantage Team sets up meetings with experts and leaders from the city to develop a plan for updating the Diversity Advantage Plan. This process resulted in a work plan that prioritizes community input.
Community Engagement: The Diversity Advantage Team organizes and hosts community meetings and workshops to gather input from diverse groups. These gatherings provide a platform for open discussions, idea sharing and collaboration.
- Project Team retreat, consisting of key city leaders, to plan a new structure for diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
- Centering Communities of Color dialogues, Cross-Cultural Center workshops and one community conversation specifically about the Diversity Advantage plan update.
Development: Use the feedback and suggestions provided to create the Diversity Advantage Plan 2.0.
- Agree on how to achieve our goals and suggest objectives and actions to be added to the city’s strategic goals.
- Gather input about a draft plan from the community, including the participants in the community conversation about the plan, the Bellevue Diversity Advantage Network and the Centering Communities of Color team.
Winter 2023/Spring 2024
Organize: The Diversity Advantage Team will make sure that the rollout of Diversity Advantage 2.0 is comprehensive, involving communication, training, education and engagement with all involved.
- Create clear messages and materials to explain Diversity Advantage 2.0.
- Develop training, guides and other tools that help staff and community members use the new plan. At the city, this includes employee resource groups and the Leadership Team (the city manager and department heads). In the community, BDAN and the CCC team will be aware and involved.
- Once approved by the City Council, the new plan will be made widely available.
City Action: The Diversity Advantage team will collaborate closely with each department to recommend and finalize equity objectives in their department plans. These objectives will be aligned with strategic target areas and budget proposals.
Summer 2024 and Beyond
Implementation: The team will monitor early progress on the new plan as implementation and department plans begin. If needed, we'll adjust the plan based on our evaluation and community feedback.